On March 1 1981, Sophisticated Ladies debuted on Broadway. The show run for 767 performances and garnered two Tony Awards for Willi Kim for Best Costume and Hinton Battle for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical. It Don’t Mean a Thing! featuring the sultry Phyllis Hyman, Hinton Battle and Gregg Burge.
Battle made his Broadway debut in the original production of Broadway’s The Wiz and then won three Tonys — all in the category of featured actor in a musical — for his work in Sophisticated Ladies (1981), The Tap Dance Kid (1984) and Miss Saigon (1991). An NAACP Image Award winner, the actor, director, producer and choreographer was also a SAG and Critics Choice nominee, honored for his work as part of the ensemble of 2007’s movie musical Dreamgirls. The actor died Tuesday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles following a lengthy illness. He was 67.